The calving season is upon us again, but this year we thought we’d get the calving on film or so we thought!
We knew that one of our cows was about to calve as she’d been bagged up for a couple of days and on this particular cold and miserable February morning we knew it wouldn’t be long. Her tail had risen and she was pacing up and down.
The men decided to get her into the calving pen so that if assistance was needed, we could help without getting trampled on by the other curious cows.
My film making hubby was quick (on this occasion!) to get the camera set up ready for calving action. We certainly didn’t want to miss an unassisted birth again. So with camera at the ready, we waited…… and waited……. and waited……. but no calf appeared.
The cow paced up and down and round the pen, whilst we paced up and down turning the record button on and off.
Suddenly sacs appeared and then the feet . We finally had some action and some decent footage.
Again it all went quiet as we waited…..and waited…. and waited for the calf to be born. The feet kept bobbing in and out like a jack in a box but the calf wasn’t moving any further forward. Cows do not like to be watched, disturbed or as we now know, filmed when they are calving and our presence and that of the camera was obviously putting her off. Filming was temporarily abandoned as we all hid round the corner waiting for more action.
We began to worry about the unborn calf as prolonged calving can sometimes injure or kill a calf. The men decided to intervene and assist with the birth, but first they had to catch the cow and tether her so that they could safely assist. The cow however had different ideas and was not willing to be tethered up. (Tethering the cow is not always necessary, it depends on the nature of the cow, although with this cow it was very necessary as she doesn’t like humans at the best of times, let alone when she is in the middle of calving a calf that doesn’t want to be born.)
I don’t think these farmers would make it lassoing cattle in the Australian outback or on an American ranch, since they couldn’t manage to tether this cow in her pen!
As worry for the calf mounted, tempers became frayed and the head farmer ordered us to stop messing about with the camera and leave the pregnant cow to see if she would calve on her own. Back in the house we could hear alot of mooing and with the boss gone for his lunch the coast was clear to go and get the camera re-set up for the calving shots.
I stayed in the kitchen preparing lunch whilst my film making hubby dashed back across the yard to film the birth.
“Did you get it?” I enquired as my husband returned, although the look on his face said it all. “No!!!!!!!” He had just got the camera in place when the cow let out a great moo and as he pressed the record button the calf was laid in the fresh bedded up straw.
Yet again, nature waits for no man, not even a camera man!